Edinburgh hosted the second National meeting of the ACORD Collaboration (and MRC CTU ACORD Fellows Academy) on 21 June 2023. A great opportunity for researchers from around the UK to discuss approaches to clinical trials across the four disease areas (MS, MND, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's) and ongoing research.
The remarkable progress in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases heralds an era when neurologists can be at the vanguard of regenerative medicine to improve patients lives, instead of just chroniclers of their decline. To capitalise on these advances, that are identifying ever more therapeutic candidates, whether re-purposed or entirely new, there is an urgent need for new generation of innovative adaptive clinical trials to test these putative medicines.
The national ACORD collaboration was formed in 2021 to encourage and support the development, running and reporting of Multi-arm, Multi-stage Platform Trials (with their associated scientific and infrastructure projects) in four major neurodegenerative diseases: MND, Progressive MS, Parkinson’s Disease and ultimately Dementia.
By 2021 the collaboration has reached the stage where a number of interventions are emerging for evaluation in pivotal phase III trials. Founding partners Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, Queen Square Institute of Neurology at UCL and the University of Edinburgh are overseeing work in the first three of these diseases, specifically the MND-SMART, the OCTOPUS trial in Progressive multiple sclerosis (MS Society website) and the ACT-PD project laying the foundations for a large platform trial in Parkinson’s disease.
We are pleased to be working with the following charitable organisations: UKMS Society, Cure Parkinson's Trust, Edmund J Safra, My Name’5 Doddie, MND Scotland, MND Association and Alzheimer’s Research UK. We look forward to collaborating with more charitable organisations as ACORD grows and continues to gain momentum.
The collaboration will be looking at specific challenges to develop, launch and run MAMS trials in these areas including:
By the end of 2021 academic partners in the ACORD enterprise include The University of Plymouth, The University of Warwick, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College, and The UK Dementia Research Institute. A particular cross disease initiative The Neurodegenerative Statistics group (NeuStats) formed earlier in 2021 have held productive meetings looking at statistical issues in the design, conduct, and analysis of the MAMS platform initiatives in all areas, sharing challenges and possible solutions. The NeuStats group will continue to meet on a 3-monthly basis.
Professor Mahesh Parmar Director of the MRC CTU at UCL and a founding partner of ACORD says ‘We have made little or no progress in the treatment of a number of major neurodegenerative diseases for decades; the ACORD collaboration brings together patients, scientists, clinicians, statisticians, and charities across the country and offers us a once in generation opportunity to change the outlook for patients with these devastating diseases’.